Hours after a gunman shot multiple people at a GOP baseball practice, a Georgia congressman has suggested a new concealed carry policy specifically for lawmakers.
Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., told reporters, “If this had happened in Georgia, [the shooter] wouldn’t have gotten too far. I had a staff member who was in his car, maybe 20 yards behind the shooter… who back in Georgia carries a 9mm in his car. I carry a weapon. He had a clear shot at him. But here, we’re not allowed to carry any weapons here…”
Loudermilk’s proposal would allow congressmen to carry a concealed weapon in Washington, D.C., if they are allowed to carry in their home state. The nation’s capital currently imposes some of the strictest gun control laws in the country and does not recognize concealed carry permits from any other state.
Loudermilk noted that if Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise’s security detail had not been present, the shooting could have concluded more disastrously. Scalise was the only lawmaker present at the practice who was assigned a security detail, due to his status as Majority Whip in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Sen. Rand Paul, who was also present at the attack, agreed with Loudermilk’s assessment. Paul told MSNBC, “Everybody probably would have died, except for the fact that the Capitol Hill police were there [in Scalise’s detail.]” He said, “the only reason they were there is because we had a member of leadership on our team.”
“This is exactly why there is a lot of fear of even doing town halls at this point. Some of the things this guy is posting on Facebook — we get the same things, and even worse,” Loudermilk said.
Loudermilk is a long-time champion of the second amendment, having previously sponsored a Georgia bill to lower the age requirement to apply for a concealed carry permit.
Rep. Chris Collins (R-NT.) also responded to the attack by telling a New York radio station that he intends to carry a handgun now.
“On a rare occasion, I’d have my gun in the glove box or something, but it’s going to be in my pocket from this day forward.”
The office of Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY) released photos of an email they received this morning with the subject line, “One down, 216 to go…” referencing the shooting of Scalise. The body of the email said, “Good riddance.”
Democratic lawmakers have also condemned the attacks, but have yet to respond to Loudermilk’s proposed concealed carry reciprocity policy.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) spoke to the Senate that he was “sickened by this despicable act,” after it was revealed that the shooter formerly volunteered for Sanders’ presidential campaign. “Real change can only come about by nonviolent action,” he said.
Gabrielle Giffords, a former U.S. Representative from Arizona who survived an assassination attempt in 2011, stated on Twitter: “This shooting is an attack on all who serve and on all who participate in our democracy.” She added that she is “thankful for the great courage of the Capitol Police,” two of whom were injured during the attack.
In the wake of the attack, President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence canceled speeches.